Nayib Bukele asks Latinos in California not to vote for Norma Torres

(CNN Español) — The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, asked this Thursday the Latin Americans of the 35th district of California “not to vote” for Norma Torres, a Democratic representative.

“It does not work for you, but to keep our countries in underdevelopment,” Bukele wrote in a tweet, after a controversial exchange of messages with Torres on the same social network.

It all started when the congresswoman blamed the governments of the so-called northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) for the migration drama. Torres used as an example the video of the US Border Patrol that captured the moment in which human smugglers throw two young girls over the metal wall that separates the US from Mexico.

“This is a great shame for the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, their compatriots deserve governments that are truly committed to fighting corruption and drug trafficking,” Torres wrote.

President Bukele questioned Torres for the inaccuracy in the information, since the two minors are from Ecuador. The Foreign Ministry of that country has assured in a statement that it provides assistance to minors.

“Look, lady, did you read that the children are from Ecuador and not from El Salvador? In addition, this occurred on the border of Mexico with the United States. What does El Salvador have to do with this? He should use a part of his financier’s check to buy glasses, ”Bukele reproached in another tweet.

The congresswoman responded to Bukele. “This is the result of dictators more interested in their own benefit as their people escape by the thousands and die by the hundred. Send me new glasses so I can see the suffering of the people through their eyes, ”Torres said in a tweet.

Torres accompanied the message with a photograph in which a man and a little girl are seen drowning on the shore of a river. The image is that of the Salvadoran Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, who drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to reach the United States in June 2019. By the time of his death, Bukele was already president : he had taken office on June 1 of that year.

“I will send you the pair of glasses, maybe you can read the dates. Oscar and Valeria fled in the spring of 2019 during the government of [Salvador] Sánchez Cerén, the FMLN leader you supported (and probably continue to support). Apart from using tragedies (twice) to attack us, it is pathetic, ”said Bukele. Torres no longer responded to Bukele’s post.

The congresswoman from the Democratic party has been critical of the management of the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

On February 7, Torres and Congressman Albio Sires sent a letter to Bukele to express their concern about the attack suffered by members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The incident occurred in the Las Cañas neighborhood in Ilopango, about 13 kilometers from San Salvador, when the team was going to attend an emergency. The organization even temporarily suspended its operations in El Salvador as a result of the incident. The congressmen asked Bukele to help with the investigation.

Recently, Torres said, during an interview with CNN, that he has asked the administration of President Joe Biden in the US not to give a penny to the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador because he believes that their presidents are not doing their work and do not respect the rule of law. Bukele, for his part, has already asked the US to treat Guatemala and Honduras differently because he believes that his government is making efforts to reduce illegal immigration.

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